Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Creating the possibility for healthy change to a community by disturbing the environment: The priest as gardener
by Welin, Gregory W., D.Min., Hartford Seminary, 2012, 101; 3520464
Abstract (Summary)

The project explores the nature of Christian community as an expression of the gifts of individual members. The congregation is interpreted through the language of organic community. The various transformative challenges are meant to turn over the soil to prepare it for new growth. Interventions are made in the congregation's worship, education, leadership and social gatherings. When the congregation gathers, attention is re-focused on the center of the group and members are given opportunity to hear the voices of others through dialogue sermons and the teaching of congregational singing. Children are give new roles in worship and adults are given opportunities to learn outside of traditional times and places. Social gatherings are seen as new opportunities to center as a community. The purpose is to help individual members see their gifts in new contexts and to appreciate the gifts of others in new ways. The project is measured through observation and notes, which leads to significant adaptation as the project unfolds. A congregational survey is given before and after the project that measures significant changes in attitudes.

The project contains some reflection on the nature of organic community and the biblical and theological underpinnings of the concept. There is also a reflection on the role of leadership in congregational change. There is observable evidence that supports the concepts of adaptive leadership and resonant leadership. An unexpected challenge in the project occurs when the main sanctuary cannot be used for worship because of heating problems, and the project has to be adapted to a new worship space. The context is an Episcopal church in Connecticut and there are specific interventions that are unique to a sacramental, main line protestant church.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Thumma, Scott
School: Hartford Seminary
School Location: United States -- Connecticut
Source: DAI-A 73/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Religion, Clerical studies, Theology
Keywords: Community change, Congregational change, Organic community, Priest
Publication Number: 3520464
ISBN: 9781267531414
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